By RYNE R. MARTIN
BRASHER FALLS - The St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Board of Education is expected to appoint two assistant business managers at its meeting next month, and one of those candidates will be filling a vacant post at St. Lawrence Central.
St. Lawrence Central School Superintendent Stephen Putman said the BOCES employee assigned to the district, Rene Cole, left the district on June 22 to accept a position with the St. Lawrence County Highway Department.
It is the third search for a business manager over the past five years for the St. Lawrence Central School District. The district had opted to contract with BOCES for the business manager post following the resignation of Lisa M. Mitras in the fall of 2010. Ms. Cole had served as St. Lawrence Central business manager since January 2011.
St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Director of Financial Affairs Nicole M. Ashley said the two candidates will be presented to the BOCES board for approval on Aug. 9.
We offered the positions, and they have signed conditional offers for employment, contingent on board approval, Ms. Ashley said.
She said St. Lawrence Central has contracted for business manager services for three days a week and accounting services for one day a week.
District officials had previously said the advantage to contracting with BOCES for the business managers post is that the district receives BOCES aid since it is a shared service.
Ms. Ashley said St. Lawrence Central is paying $90,505 total for both services in 2012-13. We can only estimate the state aid that will be generated as we will not know the actual BOCES aid until we close everything out and submit it to the state education department. SED calculates the BOCES aid. However, based on historical costs and aid generated I can provide an estimate - our estimate is that Brasher will receive approx. $57,030 in BOCES aid for these services, she noted.
She said in addition to the business management and accounting pieces the assistant business manager will be providing claims auditing for BOCES. We have three districts who have asked us to perform their claims auditing function on all non-BOCES payments, Ms. Ashley noted.
Mr. Putman said he had sat in on interviews for the nearly half dozen finalists for the post earlier this month. Its a collegial endeavor. BOCES is hiring two assistant business managers - one for here and one for Edwards-Knox and Harrisville, he noted. They have a vested interest in keeping the school districts happy.
Ms. Ashley, a former business manager at St. Lawrence Central, is spending one to two days a week in the district until a new business manager is assigned to the district.
The sooner that position is filled the better. We have to get ready for the annual audit. Weve got to get ready to close the books and get ready for the accountants. At least school is not in session, he said.
Ms. Cole replaced Ms. Mitras after she left in October 2010 for a similar position with the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District.
Ms. Cole, a Heuvelton resident, worked for Ms. Ashley at the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES business office before being assigned to St. Lawrence Central. She had been doing purchasing for one district and payroll for a different district before taking over the duties in Brasher Falls.
Mr. Putman said at that time she took over her duties at St. Lawrence Central that the district was able to take advantage of a new option offered by the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES.
Districts had previously had to contract with BOCES for all business office functions. But BOCES received state approval to offer an a la carte plan that allows them to provide a portion of the service, such as payroll or purchasing, to districts.
The second assistant business manager being appointed by the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES board will fill the vacancy created when Carol L. LaSala leaves her job as an assistant business manager at St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES to take over as business manager at Gouverneur Central School.
Effective Aug. 27, Mrs. LaSala will replace Connie J. Timmerman, who retired from her job at Gouverneur.
Gouverneur School Superintendent Lauren F. French said Mrs. LaSalas appointment is for two years and includes a $95,000 annual salary.
In her BOCES position, Mrs. LaSala served as business manager for Edwards-Knox Central School and Harrisville Central School.
BOCES Superintendent Thomas R. Burns said the number of districts contracting with BOCES for businesses services has grown from six to 11 over the past few years and he expects the trend will continue.
When districts are faced with not getting as much state aid as they should this is a way for them to increase their BOCES aid, Mr. Burns said.
The financial software used by BOCES allows its business staff to specialize in specific areas, which increases efficiency and helps streamline business functions, he said.
Massena Central is one of the latest districts to contract with St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. Assistant Business Manager Nicholas Brouilette has been assigned to the district three days a week, and Cindy Myers will be doing accounts payable work three days a week for the Massena district.
Staff writer Sue Mende contributed to this report.